Wow! Why wasn’t I surprised though? The victim always had to suffer while the culprit receives more rights. That man did not deserve my forgiveness, why was it so hard for mama and the ancestors to understand that? He did not deserved any of my time..

“Well, if that’s the case, let’s call the ceremony off then”

Yes, I called the ceremony off. There was no way I could even attempt to forgive Desmond. Mama looked at me like I had just said the most weirdest thing on earth.

“What?”

She pulled the lowest of tones.

“Yes, mama. There is no way that I’m going to forgive that man, after everything he’s put me and my mother through”

At that point, my voice was becoming shaky. I was honestly caught between a rock and a hard place, because I wanted the ceremony to go on and for my babies to be born into a pure environment, but I also wanted to remain mad at Desmond. Couldn’t I do both?

“Mandy, this is not about you. This is about the children you are carrying. Do you want them to be born into this hatred?”

That’s where they got it all wrong.

“I am the one carrying these children, mama, and I am the one who was abandoned by Desmond. What do you mean this is not about me?”

She wiped her hands on her apron and came to sit next to me.

“I know this hurts, and its not easy to take it all in, but you need to start thinking like a parent now. As a parent, your first priority is your child. For an example, when the kids are here, you will stay up all night if they are sleepless. The following morning, you will still be expected to be up and cater for them. Your sleep won’t matter. Your happiness won’t matter. Get used to being a parent and making your children your first priority”

But that sounded so wrong. What about me? Or was I being selfish?

“Mama, I get that, but I can’t forgive Desmond. I just can’t. That man never loved me, why is he even here?”

She stretched her hand out and held mine..

“Just like I said, the children are your priority right now. I’m sure he wasn’t really looking forward to this, because he knew the drama that you would put him through, but he is here because there are children involved”

And that was supposed to make me feel better?

“Still, I can’t forgive him. Can’t you negotiate with the ancestors and find another way to do this without me forgiving that man?”

She shook her head.

“I’m sorry, but there is no other way”

I got up..

“The ceremony is off then”

I took a few steps away..

“Mandy, come back here”

She softly called out. I stopped on my tracks and turned to look at her.

“Come back here. We’re not done talking”

Her voice carried so much authority, there was no way I could oppose.

“I thought we were done”

I went to sit down again.

“Are you sure you want to call off everything?”

I sighed as she held my hand again..

“Yes, I’m sure”

She nodded.

“Okay then, I will not try and convince you to change your mind. You are an adult and you know what you want. All I’m going to ask you, is for you to inform Sibusiso. He deserves to know”

I gave her a blank stare..

“He is the father of these children, he deserves to know what you have decided on because it will affect them more than it will affect any of you”

Was that a threat? It sounded like a threat to me. That woman was threatening me in a very diplomatic way.

“Okay, I will talk to him about it”

I remained as calm as I could possibly be.

“Okay, I’m glad”

She sounded so disappointed, but didn’t want to push any further. Alex walked in.

“Hey guys, what’s up with the holding of hands now?”

He giggled.

“Mandy and I were just having a heart to heart conversation”

Mama removed her hands from mine..

“Heart to heart? That sounds really interesting. Can I join you guys?”

He went over to the fridge and opened it.

“No need, we are done anyway”

Mama got up and went over to her pots.

“Wow! I’ve missed out hey. So, Mandy, are you going to be okay with staying here alone?”

That question, coming from Alex, came as a shock. The last time I checked, he couldn’t care less what goes on in my life.

“Uh, yeah, I guess. I mean, there’s a high security system and all, so I think I’ll be fine”

I mumbled, trying so hard to make sense.

“Mmhm.. Get your friends’ numbers on speed dial, just to be on the safe side”

Okay, he sounded like he really cared. He took out bottled water and came to sit next to me.

“Nothing is going to happen to her. She will be fine”

Mama sounded so sure. Who could argue with that?

“To be on the safe side, remain indoors. We don’t want anything happening to you while you’re out there”

Alex insisted. I nodded. We talked about general stuff for a while. For once, in a very long time, Alex and I got along. We were even laughing at the jokes and stories that mama was telling.

Later, we had a family dinner. Afterwards, I went to do the dishes while they went to rest, in preparation for the trip they were going to take. When I was done, I went to my room and changed into my pyjamas. I got into bed and called Phila. She picked up on the first ring.

“Little Miss Sunshine”

I smiled. That reminded me of Thando.

“Hey, how are you?”

I still carried a fond smile.

“I’m good. How are you?”

“I’m also good. I was just thinking about you. Guess what? I’ll be home alone for the next two days”

She screamed in excitement ..

“Are you for real? Dude, let’s throw the mother of all parties”

I laughed.

“You must be out of your mind”

She laughed too.

“What? Okay, let’s just have male strippers over and have them massaging us while they are pole dancing for us”

I laughed even harder.

“What the hell?”

She giggled.

“What? Okay, what do you suggest we do?”

I couldn’t stop laughing..

“Nothing. How about we watch movies, like normal people?”

“What? Are you out of your mind???”

She yelled ..

“Dude, my ears”

She laughed.

“I’m sorry, but we need to do something exciting. We can’t just sit around and watch movies like a bunch of couch potatoes”

“Okay, come over tomorrow and we will decide”

“Oh yes, I will. As soon as Vuyani leaves for work, I’ll be knocking on your doorstep”

I laughed.

“Sure, no problem. I’ll see you tomorrow then”

We hung up. I must have fallen asleep, because Mama came to wake me up..

“Mandy”

She gently shook me as she softly called my name out.. I opened my eyes and looked at her..

“Come and lock up, we’re leaving now”

I sat up on my bed..

“What time is it?”

I rubbed my eyes..

“Its 12. I’m sorry to wake you up”

She sounded so sincere. It was not even like I was mad at her for waking me up..

“Its okay”

I got out of bed and wore my slippers.

“Take good care of yourself, okay? I’ll take your number from Alex and call you”

I nodded. She walked out of my room and I followed her. We got to the lounge, where the boys were waiting.

“Oh, here you are”

Alex’s father said as I walked in.. I smiled..

“We’re sorry to wake you up, but we are leaving now”

He added. I didn’t get why they saw the need to apologize for waking me up. I knew they were going to wake me up when it was time for them to leave. I nodded. After all their speeches on how I had to take good care of myself, how I had to eat and never skip meals and how I had to take my supplements at all times; they had to leave. I locked up and went back to bed.

The following morning, my ringing phone woke me up, it was Phila..

“Mmhm.. Hello”

I mumbled under my breath..

“Sunshine, open up. I’m outside and the gate is locked”

Oh Lord, I checked the time on my phone and it was 6:30. What was Phila doing at my gate, at that time?

“What? Now?”

“Yes dude, now. Open up already, before I jump over. This fence is not even that high”

I got up and went to open up for her.. I stood by the front door, watching her as she rushed towards the house. She was still in her pj’s, carrying a small bag which I assumed had her clothes and stuff.

“Seriously?”

I asked, as I stared at her bag.

“What?”

She shrugged her shoulders.

“Did you see what time it is?”

She walked right past me, into the house. I followed her in, and locked up.

“I told you I was going to be here as soon as Vuyani leaves for work”

She placed her bag on the couch..

“Is he already at work?”

She shook her head.

“He’s on his way to work. He has an important project that he’s working on. He’s never home and I’m always alone”

She sat next to her bag.

“I’m sorry to hear that. You must be really bored”

She nodded.

“Very bored. I’m thinking of going back to my business”

I rolled my eyes..

“Don’t even think about it. Let’s go to bed, I’m still sleepy”

She got up and followed me to my room. We got into bed and I fell asleep almost immediately.. As I was still fast asleep, I felt something shaking me. I opened my eyes after minutes of ignoring what was happening. Phila was standing next to my bed, with breakfast.

“Breakfast in bed? You didn’t have to do that”

I sat up, taking the tray from her.

“Thanks.”

“Enjoy it, it doesn’t happen often”

She sat next to me..

“Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind”

I looked at her and smiled ..

“So, how are you?”

My smile faded away. Everytime someone asked me that question, I had to sum up all the pain and worry into one “I’m fine”. I didn’t like it when people felt sorry for me.

” I’m okay. One step at a time”

She nodded, but something tells me that she didn’t believe me.

“You know, mama thinks I should just forgive Desmond and move on with life. She says the only way the cleansing ceremony could be effective is when I forgive him”

I looked down.

“What? What does that even mean?”

She sounded so confused.

“She says that my children cannot be born into so much hatred, and I need to be cleansed before they are born. She reckons that the only time the ceremony would work is when I have made peace with my father”

I looked at her.

“Wow, now that’s a tough one”

I nodded

“What kills me the most is the fact that she is telling me that this whole thing is not about me, but about my children”

“She wants you to forgive him for them?”

I nodded ..

“My friend, I know you don’t want to hear this right now, but you really need to forgive that man”

“What? Whose side are you on?”

She shifted a little further from me.

“This is not about sides. I’m telling you the absolute truth here. When you are mad at someone for a while, you automatically become that person’s hostage. Your life starts revolving around him and the hatred you build around yourself will turn everything you touch rotten. Free yourself from this, and focus on attracting positive energy”

I looked away.

“I can’t. I wouldn’t know where to begin, even if I was considering it”

“Yes, that’s because you have hardened your heart against this. Please, loosen up a bit. The trick here, Sunshine, is to do it for yourself. Don’t do it for the kids, or for Sibusiso. Do it for Mandiphumle, and do it so well that he wonders what he has done to deserve a heart felt forgiveness from you. Free your heart from this, and thank me later.”

 

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